Why Is My Toilet Leaking at the Base?

Do you spy water on the floor around the toilet? Don’t ignore this problem. Left unaddressed, your toilet will continue leaking a little bit with each flush, allowing unsanitary water to pool on the bathroom floor and potentially causing unsanitary mold damage and rot in the subfloor.

A toilet leaking at the base often is a sign of a faulty wax ring. This piece of equipment is supposed to create a tight seal between the toilet base and the drainpipe. When it breaks, water may leak every time you flush. Fortunately, it’s easy to test the source of the leak and troubleshoot the problem. If you decide the wax ring needs to be replaced, we advise hiring a plumber for qualified toilet repair.

Test Your Leaky Toilet

Sometimes, a nearby leak can make the toilet look like it is leaking at the base. Follow these steps to find out specifically where the water is escaping from.

Check for Condensation

The “leak” around your toilet might not be a leak at all. Instead, water vapor might be condensing on the bowl or tank and dripping onto the floor. To check for this, soak up any standing water with a towel and flush the toilet. Look carefully —if there are no new water pools around the base, condensation is the likely problem. Running the exhaust fan when you shower is an easy solution.

Examine the Toilet Tank

Look closely around the surface of the tank for any wetness. To rule out condensation, clean up any droplets with a paper towel. Then, look again, searching for loose bolts or cracked porcelain leaking water onto the floor. Tighten any loose bolts you notice. If the tank is broken, you’ll need to replace your toilet.

Inspect the Water Hose

Check the cold-water supply line on the backside of the toilet. A loose connection, defective hose or faulty shut-off valve may cause a leak. If tightening the fittings doesn’t help, you may need a plumber to replace the water supply hose.

Tighten the Tee Bolts

If these troubleshooting tips prove unhelpful, your toilet is probably leaking at the base like you thought. Before calling a plumber, try tightening the tee bolts that attach the toilet to the floor. You may need to remove the decorative plastic caps with a putty knife or flathead screwdriver to get to the bolt at the bottom of. Be careful not to tighten it too much, as this could damage the porcelain. If the bolts spin freely, you may need to replace them.

Look for Signs of a Worn-Out Wax Ring

If bolting the toilet tighter to the floor doesn’t help, a faulty wax ring could be the problem after all. Besides water pooling around the toilet, you may smell a sewage stink, indicating a broken sewer line seal. And if the toilet rocks back and forth, this could mean it’s sitting on a broken flange, the piece of equipment that connects the flush system to the plumbing line. A rocking toilet might also point to a soft subfloor resulting from the leak, which needs immediate attention to prevent the problem from doing more damage.

Hire a Plumber to Replace the Wax Ring

If you discover that a broken wax ring is indeed the problem, resolving it involves removing the toilet, replacing the ring and reinstalling the toilet. While it’s possible to attempt the repair without a plumbing license, DIY toilet removal is not recommended. Here’s why you should leave the issue to a qualified plumber:

    • Porcelain is a surprisingly delicate material. If you whack the toilet on the floor or hit it too hard with a plumbing tool, it could crack, forcing you to pay for a toilet replacement in addition to everything else.
    • Lifting and lowering the heavy plumbing fixture is a two-person chore. Even then, poor lifting techniques could leave you with an hurt back.
    • Checking for water-damaged subflooring requires a Expert eye. And if any damage has happened, it should be addressed before reinstalling the toilet, something a plumber can help guide you through.
    • If you determine the entire flange below the toilet is damaged, it will need to be replaced. This is even more difficult than swapping out the wax ring.
    • Removing the toilet, making the needed repair and reinstalling it can take a few hours, if not longer. You most likely have better things you’d rather be doing, giving you yet another reason to leave the repair to a plumber.

Schedule Toilet Repair with an Expert Plumber

At Winnipeg Supply Service Experts, fixing toilet leaks is one of our specialties. Whether you complete the troubleshooting tips outlined above before scheduling an appointment, or you want us to handle everything from start to finish, we’ve got you covered. Every job is backed by our 100% satisfaction guarantee,* so sit back, don’t worry, and let us take care of the problem. To schedule reliable toilet repair in your neighborhood, please contact Winnipeg Supply Service Experts today!

*Not applicable to the Advantage Program. See your signed Advantage Program Agreement for full details and exclusions. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee is subject to certain restrictions and limitations as set forth in the applicable Terms and Conditions.

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